Do airgun slugs work as well as airgun pellets? Are they a fad or here to stay? Editor Terry Doe explores the subject

I get zillions of emails, letters and calls every month, usually about a huge variety of subjects, and I do my best to answer them all, either directly or via the pages of this magazine. Every so often, I get so many enquiries about a particular subject that I’m obliged to reply with a feature. Hence this one-pager on airgun slugs.


Most of you who have contacted me want to know three things: are slugs just a fashion, do they actually work, and will they eventually replace pellets? I’ve consulted my sources, both here and abroad, and here’s my take on the current slugs phenomenon. Please feel free to disagree, or to contribute positively to what is an extremely interesting debate. One thing is for sure, we haven’t had such a radical departure from airgun ammo convention for many, many years.


This one’s easy; no they’re not. Too many people have invested too much time, effort and money into the development and production of the various slug designs for them to be merely a fad. Having spoken at length to Graham and Yvonne Scase of Pro Hunter Swaging, I was astounded at the degree of commitment they have to producing their products. Trust me, this is no temporary trend.


Another easy one; yes they do, and in the right barrels, at the right speeds, slugs can be incredibly effective. Again, my personal experience is mainly with the Pro Hunter brand, and even at the early stages of testing, I have seen truly remarkable results from them. Others, such as our own Mick Garvey, and many of my U.S. based contacts, are redefining the boundaries of airgun performance with slugs. Slugs work, of that we can be certain.


I’m tempted to go for another short answer and say no, because slugs are still for more specialised use and pellets are pretty much universal. Pellets also work perfectly well in the vast majority of shooting situations, the machinery and techniques for producing pellets has been established for decades, and most airgunners are perfectly satisfied with what pellets do for them.

Slugs, at the moment, represent a potential new level of performance for hunters, competition shooters, and especially those from both of these categories who use high-power air rifles. Slugs also have a future in sub-12 ft.lbs. rifles, as my own testing with the Pro Hunter brand has proven, and I’m genuinely excited to see what’s coming next.


From now on, slugs are going to be a part of our thinking, and our shooting. Their development is ongoing and that will definitely continue, and like so many who are driven by the progress in our sport, I can’t wait for my next batch of slugs to test. Slugs are moving fast, no doubt about it!